Fabric Painting is not a recent phenomenon, as is commonly believed; in fact the most ancient instance of fabric painting can be dated back to as early as 3000 B.C. Printing blocks belonging to that period has been found in Asia.
Alexander, who invaded India in around 327 B.C, is said to have been mesmerized by the variety and color of the Fabric Painting of the region. The development of trade route ensured that this art form traveled to different parts of the world.
China and Japan too were involved in innovations with the technique much before rest of the world discovered it. The Chinese invented the resist and stencil metho d.
Today many other techniques of fabric paintings have been developed around the world;
batik, tie-dye, and shibori are just some of them.
Wax and dye combine to produce magic on cloth, and the magic is known as “Batik Painting”. Batik literally means
“wax writings” in Javanese and is believed to have originated in the island of Java, Indonesia, however India too would like to stake claims to what has now become a very Indian art form, moreover it cannot be denied that
Batik painting got a new lease of life after its revival in the art schools of Shantiniketan, (Calcutta).
The “wax resist' technique used in this art form makes it both unique and viable. The artistic freedom that the medium offers makes it an approachable art form.
The making of a Batik Painting involves three integral stages-that of waxing, dyeing and dewaxing (removing the wax).
It is a method of dyeing clothes, which came into being thanks to the Hippie culture of the 1960s. It involves a very simple process wherein some portions of the cloth is tied with strings or rubber band and then it is dyed by submerging in the dye solution or being squirted with it. The areas that were not exposed to the dye remain uncolored and a pattern is formed. This is also called the resist technique. Sometimes different colors of dyes are used for different sections of the cloth.
The discovery of synthetic fabric colors has resulted in a sub culture of fabric painting where the artistic freedom one is equipped with, is incredible to say the least. One needs just a brush and colors to make a canvas out of any piece of cloth. T-Shirt painting has become an important modern art form.